Life: Through One Eye

January 18, 2012

It never fails. I find something in each new day that carries my mind back to my childhood. I cry inside, sometimes even outside, longing for an old friend I’ll never see again. I had a pretty normal childhood despite it being the most abnormal childhood one can have.

I was only five years of age when I woke up on a cold steel table, my life forever changed. I knew I just had surgery of the eye, but understood little more than that. My surgeon handed me a mirror and I looked at my new face. This one only had one eye. I stared at myself, strangely unaffected by what I was seeing. I was only five. Five year-olds are not developed enough to understand any of this, yet there it was.

“What happened to your eye?” I’ve been asked that question more times than I’ve been asked my name. Somehow my eye became more important than who I was. As a child, I always tried to answer the question patiently, using words, symbolism and analogies my peers could understand. Sometimes, though, I just wanted to be left alone. I wanted my eye to not be the center of attention. When moments such as those arose, I’d lie, claiming a spider bit me, to explain the limpness of my face. I tried to hide it. Eye patches, surgical bandages, ophthalmic bandages, glasses with the right lens fogged and even a prosthetic eye. Nothing worked for me. One by one, they all failed. I was cursed, unable to mask that which hurt my self esteem the most.

I suppose it’s good that I wanted to be alone at times, because I was alone a lot. I was tolerated by most and shunned by only a few, but looking back, it seems I was alone most of the time by choice. I had few I could relate to. I searched for so long, but I always came up empty handed. There was no one out there for me. No one who had seen what I see everyday.

I became the lone wolf, but like the lone wolf, I became stronger.

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